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letters to the editor

Strike against Iranian general, without Congress’s approval, not out of the ordinary in recent US history

Posted 8 January 2020 at 10:34 pm


The Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, we just killed had posed a danger to the US for decades. No American laments his death. Now they have responded.

I simply write about the carefully crafted procedures that are being debated as part of everyone thinking on what happened and how the Country proceeds.

Under our Constitution only Congress can declare war and has the power of the purse. The President is the Commander in Chief, constrained only by law, treaty, and international laws to which we have agreed.

After that everything involving the military gets muddled with overlapping laws and procedures. For example, President Regan signed Executive Order 12333 which prohibits assassinating a leader of a foreign government – inter alia  President Nixon was caught assassinating the elected President of Chile.

Another example came up when President Johnson staged the partly fictitious Gulf of Tonkin naval battle so be sure we became involved in Vietnam. In response Congress was concerned about being drawn into wars through the back door and enacted the War Powers Act requiring that it be consulted immediately if military force was used except in the event of emergency self defense.  (Nixon vetoed it but 70 percent of each house overrode the veto.)

More recently in 2002 the President was given the power to deal with 9/11-related terrorism. Presidents have relied on “related” terrorism to justify their actions ever since. Both sides of the aisle from time to time debate if Presidents have gone too far in relying on that authorization.  (That clearly is going to come up again now.) (When President Obama asked for permission to go into Syria after chemical weapons were used – when Syria crossed the “red line” he had set –  that was not related to terrorism and Congress refused a Declaration of War.)

Since the Constitution, laws and executive orders overlap as a practical matter, the President and Congress consult all the time about how to best protect the Country.

As far as you and me are concerned everyone has their opinion but none of us is fully informed.  A few things are clear though. First, Iran is a sophisticated and powerful country with many surrogates. It does not want our small contingencies of troops and planes in its way as it attempts to dominate the Mideast.

Second, you and me may never learn all the facts – unless there are lies involved. Third, as a legal and practical matter, Congress will need to be briefed and involved. It may need to fund new military or defense capabilities. It may need to reinstate conscription. It may decide that the Administration needs entirely new Agencies or Departments to address a changed threat.

It is part of Congress’s job to sure that the Administration is up to the task now required and has the capability it needs in place to actually prevail. It has had to step in before and may or may not now.

I hope this letter helps clarify who does what and why to keep us safe as well as limit mistakes, lies, and political games.  We are a superpower economically; we are a superpower militarily; we still have most of our superpower resources diplomatically.

Our democracy is well developed and as long as everyone honors it, we have managed and will continue to whether the storms that come no matter how much we argue to find optimal solutions.

Conrad F. Cropsey


Resident has concerns about future costs with Yates Town Park

Posted 5 January 2020 at 8:42 pm


Town of Yates property taxpayers last week property tax notices were mailed out. Did yours go up or down? Consider this – a year ago we underwent a town-wide reassessment to bring equal rates to all (being told this could bring lower taxes to many).

When grant money runs out who is going to pay for maintenance, already at $10,000 per year, of the Yates Town Park, given the electricity, increased liability insurance (to cover the jetties, kayak launch, cost of vandalism, and plugged toilets), and Morrison Road repairs the Town Park REDI project will entail?

One last point, why is it only the Town Board has the say, yes or no, to a $2.5 million park enhancement? As a taxpayer, I feel I have no say.

Bill Jurinich


Assassination of Iranian general may provoke war, further destabilize region

Posted 5 January 2020 at 8:24 pm


President Trump ordered the assassination of Gen. Qassim Suleimani without notifying members of Congress or apparent consideration of consequences.

Under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), the President must inform Congress within 48 hours and the President’s actions must be intended to prevent acts of terrorism against the United States. This oversight is required by law. To date there has been no proof provided by this administration that this strike prevented an act of terrorism. This unilateral attack on Suleimani and Iran reveals an escalation of Mr. Trump’s refusal to answer either to Congress or to the American people.

If the attack on Gen. Suleimani was meant to save American life why did the administration deploy about 3,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to the region? Many experts say this action destabilizes the region and provokes war rather than prevent war.

The timing of this assassination is another concern. With the Senate trial on his impeachment coming up and the general election eleven months away, this raises questions about Mr. Trump’s motives.

Mr. Trump’s record of lies and more lies undermine his credibility both at home and abroad. Mr. Trump’s unaccountable actions and lack of oversight makes him ill-suited to lead a democratic government like the U.S. into war.

Are we going to hear Republicans say they can not take up impeachment because of events in the Middle East? Another concern is Russia. Like Mr. Trump’s ill-timed pull out of Syria, Russia benefited from the assassination, this time economically as the Russian stock market set record highs on increase oil prices.

To me, this appears to be another impulsively ill-conceived action by this administration that will have dire consequences for the U.S. but will benefit Russia. Thank you.

William Fine


Yates town park too out of the way to spend $2.5 million

Posted 5 January 2020 at 9:39 am


Why does the Town of Yates need $2.5 million in proposed upgrades to the park?  The file picture is from 2014 – 5 years ago!

I am all for taking advantage of the REDI Grants, but this money could be better spent in other more populated areas in Orleans County that are lacking and could benefit from these proposed improvements. This area is not well populated, and this park has never been utilized to the fullest due to its location.

Who will use all the proposed amenities? How will it be promoted? What will the cost be for advertising it? And once the money has been spent, can Yates afford to maintain it and keep taxes down?

Jeanne Crane


Strike against Iranian leader eliminates threat in Middle East

Posted 3 January 2020 at 9:19 am


Soleimani and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force has long been a terrorist organization. They are directly responsible for hundreds of U.S. servicemember deaths in Iraq.

Iran’s goal has always been to destabilize Iraq and exert its influence in the Middle East. This strike eliminates one of the masterminds of those efforts.

State Sen. Robert Ortt

North Tonawanda

Local veteran concerned that U.S. strike against Iranian general could have negative reaction

Posted 3 January 2020 at 8:29 am


The US has just made a terrible mistake by killing Suliemani. Don’t misunderstand me. Suliemani was a brutal thug who commanded a terrorist organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and he deserved to die.

But not by the hands of the US. It is inconceivable that Iran will not strike back and they will strike at the softest American targets they can find – embassies, consulates, American NGO offices around the world, possibly cruise ships.

And this will be on the head of the presidential candidate who wanted to withdraw from the Middle East. Who just this last New Year’s Eve said he wanted peace with Iran. What I find to be most depressing about this killing is that I believe Trump has done this mostly just to fight his impeachment. He doesn’t care about the Iranian threat but he loves having an enemy he can point a finger at. It’s classic demagoguery.

The demagogue then accuses all who do not slavishly follow the party line  of being traitors. Trump will say he needs all his energies to fight the Iranian threat and that the impeachment efforts will drain his energies. And therefore the impeachment efforts are the work of traitors.

Just so you know, I’m not anti all wars. Most yes, particularly Vietnam and the second Gulf. First Gulf War likely was justified. Saddam Hussein was after the bomb and likely would have used it.

I’m 80 and served in the USAF from early 1959 to late 1962. I was stationed in Florida where I worked on the F102 fighter interceptor’s missile systems. Our planes played a major part in the Cuban missile crisis. My experience there was written up in the “Buffalo News” weekly series on vets. It was in Jan 2018, as I recall.

After that I worked for four years for the US Navy’s top research laboratory. Then 15 years for NASA in its heyday. Lastly for the US Weather Service where I helped them computerize. In retirement I have a used & rare book business. I read a lot about political and military history.

Dennis Seekins


Sheriff Bower praised for his service to community

Posted 30 December 2019 at 6:16 pm


As Sheriff Randy Bower’s retirement is here, many in our county would like to extend our sincere thanks and wishes for continues success.

Sheriff Bower, those in your administration, and all members of the department have greatly improved citizens’ relationships with law enforcement overall. Your obvious caring for our community and dedication to providing the absolute best in protection is well worth special mention. Additionally, your involvement with youth in the county has been commendable. We are fortunate to have had you serve.

We are equally fortunate that incoming Sheriff Chris Bourke and Undersheriff Mike Mele have long proven the same dedication to Orleans County. You are leaving county citizens and the Sheriff’s Department in great hands.

Again, thank you.

Bob Harker


Hawley encourages collaboration in Albany, less divisiveness in politics in 2020

Posted 30 December 2019 at 1:03 pm


The end of 2019 does not represent a time of closure but rather a time for new hope, new opportunity and the fulfillment of long-standing aspirations. It is a symbolic time to set new goals, raise your standards and put failures and disappointment behind you.

Although we must always look forward, it is important to reflect on what we have accomplished this year and all that we have to be thankful for. In doing so, we can evaluate what we have achieved and push ourselves even further professionally, personally and physically to even greater limits next year.

The division in our state and our nation is troubling. Politics shouldn’t be a perpetual competition as much as it should be about listening, collaboration and compromise. New York has taken on a stark progressive character the last year under one-party leadership and although I disagree with many of the current policies, I will continue to extend the olive branch in 2020 and forge a bond with elected officials as fellow New Yorkers first, not Republicans or Democrats.

Next year’s election cycle is sure to be contentious, but we will heal as a nation by always remembering to listen, respect and be kind to others.

If you are out celebrating the New Year with family and friends and choose to consume alcohol, please do so responsibly and always take advantage of the great ride-sharing and taxi services we have locally. We need to all do our part this time of year to keep our drivers and passengers safe.

On behalf of all the constituents of the 139th Assembly District and fellow New Yorkers alike, I wish everyone and their families a happy and safe New Year!

Assemblyman Steve Hawley


Amidst hectic pace of holidays don’t forget true meaning of Christmas

Posted 26 December 2019 at 10:42 am


It was so pleasant to read Bob Confer’s editorial as well as The Daily News account of the first Christmas published on Christmas Day, that I wanted to add a similar reflection on the true meaning of Christmas, which is so often lost in today’s hectic world:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Many today no longer believe in God or recognize his son Jesus Christ, but it is important to remember this truth. Ages ago, God the Father sent to earth his only son Jesus to this earth to be born and grow up to be a man and live among us so he would know us and understand our grief and sorrows and the difficulties  and temptations of life we so often face.

Despite this act of love, this son was despised and rejected by mankind. He often would be by himself all night as he prayed for us, then grow weary during the day as he healed, fed and gave of himself to the very ones who hated him. He owned nothing and often did not have a place to lie down and rest at night.

In the end, this son sacrificed his life as a ransom for the very people who were putting him to death. As he hung on a cruel cross, he even asked his father to forgive them for not realizing what they were doing. That sacrifice was for all mankind, even us today. It was designed to redeem all people from the curse of sin in our lives.

God the father looked down from Heaven with sorrow as he saw his infant son lying in that manger in Bethlehem, knowing he would soon grow up to die. How many of us would be willing to make that sacrifice of our own child or of our own life for someone else?

As we have busied ourselves with the preparation and celebrating of Christmas, do we really understand why we are even remembering this day? Let us try to understand the connection between the manger and the cross, and repent from our sins and accept the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for each of us personally. Only then will we understand the true meaning of Christmas!

This is my prayer for all of you.

Wayne Lemcke


Taking a deep breath can help fight off nicotine withdrawal

Posted 24 December 2019 at 10:24 am


As the new year approaches, some people may have decided to turn unhealthy habits into healthy ones, including the decision to quit smoking!

Along with encouraging nicotine replacement therapy and counseling, how else can you help people stay smoke-free?

There are many symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and even more habits associated with smoking. Luckily, there is one priceless technique that can curb the urge to smoke in just one minute.

Did you know that taking a couple of deep breaths can be one of the most effective ways to take the edge off a craving? Deep breathing actually helps you relax! Simply closing your eyes and taking ten slow, deep breaths may be all it takes. Delaying a cigarette for just one minute by utilizing deep breathing techniques can help that desire pass.

Breathing is one of the most overlooked activities we do, but a lot of people take it’s calming potential for granted. If healthcare providers can encourage deep breathing practices their patients can experience less physical withdrawal symptoms, and can have a positive impact on behavioral triggers.

Practicing deep breathing after meals, while drinking morning coffee and in stressful situations can very well help keep people smoke-free.

Kimberly Bank, RN, MS